As much as we love the Duchess, we wanted to check with the experts before contorting our faces into never-before-seen expressions. It turns out that there is a small body of evidence that facial exercises are indeed beneficial for face shape and tone. Thus far, only one peer-reviewed study, published in Jama Dermatology in 2018, has tackled the face workout. In the study, 27 women between 40- and 65-years-old adopted a daily regimen of 32 facial exercises for eight weeks; for eleven weeks afterward, they switched up the schedule to once every other day. Researchers studied blind ratings of the photographed results, which showed "significant improvement in upper and lower cheek fullness," according to the study. Perhaps even more encouragingly, the participants themselves were highly satisfied and noted "significant improvement in 18 of 20 facial features."
This small study isn't enough to unequivocally prove that facial exercises can help improve facial fullness, but dermatologist Hadley King tells Allure that "certain motivated patients" may benefit from the exercises, especially if they're done with consistency over time.
Los Angeles-based facialist Candace Marino has found that face yoga "slows down the aging process, relieves tension, and helps to tone the skin and underlying muscles and tissues." She recommends face yoga for "anyone who is opposed to minimally invasive treatments like injections, threads, and lasers," as well as patients who are looking to supplement cosmetic treatments.
As King points out, muscle volume is only one part of what makes up our facial features. "Our faces lose volume as we age and this contributes to saggy skin — but this volume is a combination of bone, fat, and muscle, not all muscle," she explains. Facial exercises target muscle, not bone and fat.